Track Trends: Favorite win rate decreases into Derby week

Track Trends: Favorite win rate decreases into Derby week
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Just days away from the Kentucky Derby, the favorite strike rate dropped again for the week ended May 1.

With 647 total races run in comparison to the prior week’s 549, chalk was victorious 33.5 percent of the time. While these numbers trend positively going into Triple Crown season, average field size on the other hand decreased from 7.4 to 7.1. Turf racing continues to attract the largest average field, at around nine runners over the course of the past two weeks. 

Only one night of racing was contested thus far at the home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs. The unveiling of the new turf course was much anticipated and favorites were unsuccessful in two attempts, resulting in an average win payoff of $24. Attracting runners was not an issue as average field size for the turf races was 9.5. Over the eight dirt races run, favorites won 38 percent of the time with a smaller average field size of 6.6. For more information on how to play the races leading up to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, subscribe to Horse Racing Nation’s Pro Reports

Chalk was most reliable at smaller tracks such as Belterra Park and Evangeline Downs, though no track surpassed 50 percent in winning favorites. The main track at Gulfstream Park produced formful results, however the tapeta surface saw favorites win at a low of 6 percent over 16 contested races. Value was also found on the turf course at Gulfstream, with favorites striking at 17 percent. 

Plenty of data will be available going into the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, as Belmont Park has offered great wagering opportunities thus far in the spring meet. A Pick 6 carryover awaited horseplayers on Sunday and a single ticket cashed in for almost $300,000.

Over the main turf course, favorites won 38 percent of the time. The betting public was less successful on the main track and inner turf course, where favorites won 24 and 25 percent of the time, respectively. 

For a closer look at each of this year’s contenders and prep race analysis, visit Horse Racing Nation’s Kentucky Derby YouTube playlist.

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